Firing an employee involves a complicated process, a lot of paperwork, and a few awkward conversations. Companies can be cowards. Rather than taking a direct approach, some companies prefer to be passive aggressive. They don’t want to fire you – they want to motivate you to quit.
When they’re trying to push you out of the workplace, higher-ups in your company will attempt to utilize tried and true methods of humane misery to make you want to leave. They want you to feel dissatisfied or tense and start looking for a better workplace. There are several ways to go about it, but most companies stick to a few basic maneuvers to get you out the door.
If you feel that you’re being pushed to quit by a superior, you need to recognize the signs and act accordingly.
1. Your Responsibilities Have Been Cut Back
If you went from being very busy to not busy at all, and the people around you seem to be at least as swamped as they were before, this is a sign that the work is still there.
It’s currently going to other people who the company intends to keep on board (at least until the completion of that project).
They’re attempting to avoid giving you any long-term commitments to prevent disruption or inconsistency in work quality if you officially leave the company before things get wrapped up.
2. Language Doesn’t Seem Forward Thinking
Companies spend a lot of time discussing the future. That’s precisely what a deadline is – a fixed point in the future for the completion of something long term.
If no one is discussing deadlines or the future with you, this should be concerning. It means that they aren’t mapping you into the future of the company, and perhaps someone else is destined to fulfill your role.
A good indicator of exclusion in the future of a company is if promotions or additional responsibilities you were attempting to obtain are no longer pressing matters.
3. Someone is Breathing Down Your Neck
Micromanagement is invasive and annoying. Some bosses don’t realize that they’re intrusive or annoying, and if you’ve always had a micro-manager, this isn’t a sign that something has changed.
However, if you’ve recently been dealing with a micro-manager or your current boss has drastically changed the approach with which they handle you, the added pressure is likely purposeful.
Increased intensity and discomfort in interactions that you can’t control is a pressure tactic.
4. You’re Working From the Basement
If your office moves, if your tasks have become isolated, or if you’ve suddenly delegated a lonely, behind the scenes job, this is cause for concern. It’s almost like expulsion from a company’s culture. You’re losing your team and your sense of community, and it’s hard to be productive if you don’t know what everyone else is doing.
These obstacles and barriers exist to make an employee’s job seem futile or insurmountably tricky. All in the hopes that they’ll seek a more comfortable position elsewhere.
5. The Higher Ups Seem to be Missing
Bosses that aren’t great with confrontation or uncomfortable situations may entirely avoid an employee they’re attempting to oust. They may be mentally preparing to fire you by creating a cold and impartial distance.
If the real aim is to get you to quit on your own, your boss may stop providing you with the help and resources you need to do your job appropriately.
Your tools are slowly disappearing, you’re asking for help you aren’t getting, and they’re hoping you’ll give up.
6. Your “New Job” Feels Suspicious
Changes in title or position that seemingly come out of nowhere are rarely a good thing. Promotions are a form of celebration and award. If you’ve been moved or switched out of the blue without much fanfare, consider what your new position entails.
Are you a glorified paper sorter that sits in a windowless room all day? Is this drastically different from the work you were doing before?
This is because they’ve moved you out of a promotional track job to move up someone else. They’ve chosen a new person, and they didn’t want to tell you.
What You Can Do About It
If you feel like they’re trying to force you out, your job isn’t worth fighting over. Maybe you weren’t a great fit for the company. Maybe they were undervaluing your contributions.
Perhaps new management came in and decided to save money by plucking off the high salaried employees to make room for outsourcing and people who will work for less. Regardless, you need to be concerned for your future.
Stay with your job so you can continue to collect income while you are looking for a new one, but don’t wait too long to jumpstart the search.
If you’re being isolated or deliberately devalued, your employer probably wouldn’t care if you used up your vacation time to find a new position.
Don’t take the first job you see – look into potential employers before you interview with them to ascertain that you would fit in. It doesn’t necessarily matter if it’s a lower paying job, as long as you’re happy. You don’t want to find yourself repeating this process in the future, so look for a position with long-term potential.
Once you’ve located a new job and accepted an offer of employment, formally quit or resign. You’ll create a seamless transition from one role into the other, and you won’t need to worry about income in the meantime.
If you have the time and money, give yourself a week off between jobs to change your mindset and find some optimism for the future.
Don’t get angry, don’t yell, and don’t plan a grand exit. It’s normal to feel hurt or to feel like you deserve better treatment from a company you work for. Most of the time, a company attempts to get people to quit because they haven’t done anything that would warrant firing them.
That means you can still use the employer as a reference. If they’re looking to get rid of you, the recommendation they give you will be at least neutral. They want someone else to take you on so you’ll leave the office.
Consider everything you learned working with the employer who wanted you to quit. Maybe you made some mistakes that lead to you finding yourself in that position.
Perhaps you shouldn’t have taken that job because of irreconcilable philosophical differences with the company. Do not devalue yourself.
Learn and move forward into a better position with a little more wisdom now than before.